Reviews of Chamade by Guerlain

    Find out more about Chamade by Guerlain in the Basenotes Fragrance Directory


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    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Chamade (vintage mid-'80s bottle here) is a dark, powerful herbal chypre opening with a foggy, grey, masculine austerity all over: a bouquet of herbs, humid flowers, musky notes, a powdery side, a dry leather base. But most of all, herbs, like in a man's fougère. The reference here seems to be halfway classic chypres à la Guerlain or the (unfairly underrated) great Guy Laroche, and Cabochard or Habanita, that family of "bitchy", skanky feminine scents, although more refined and adorned here by a beautiful, impalpable cloud of lively, radiant, graceful hyacint-soapy talc notes which are not "on skin" but you can clearly smell them in the sillage (an "effect" I totally love). Basically a classic structure which recalls echoes of memorable chypres, with flowers, woods, herbs and resins, just fairly darker, greener, bitter, more ambiguously sensual and nastier, especially for the first hour or so, almost like a chypre for gentlemen if it wasn't for an overall subtle but perceivably soapy-talc softness and a dark, carnal but feminine sensuality running underneath the blend (aldehydes, flowers, vanilla, musky notes). Classy and compelling like "the great ones", perhaps a little less original as to me it smells pretty much a "déjà-vu" to most extents, but surely worth a try if you are a fan of the genre.

    7,5-8/10

    24 August, 2014

    Way Off Scenter's avatar

    United States United States

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    Genre: Floral

    Chamade starts out as a surprisingly aggressive spicy floral with green overtones and more than a trace of sweet vanilla in the background. The spices settle down very quickly, while the green notes amp up to balance the florals in seamlessly blended off-dry and pleasantly bitter accord of great balance and beauty.

    The spicy and vanillic components of the opening reassert themselves ever so slowly as Chamade evolves, moving the heart deeper at a rate that is nearly imperceptible. At the same time, a wave of soapy/powdery aldehydes wells up, and this keeps Chamade from growing overly heavy as it sweetens.

    Following Chamade’s progress is like watching a slow, formal 18th century dance, the sort where the participants continually exchange positions while remaining in two lines. The end result is an accord that is extraordinarily soft and velvety, but at the same time light and bright, not ponderous or treacly.

    The vanillic drydown that Chamade reaches after a few hours marks it clearly as a Guerlain product. It is an oddly “innocent” fragrance for Guerlain, but it upholds the house’s standard of complex development. It is a pretty, easily worn, and versatile scent that manages not to be trivial. A good thing.

    11th June, 2014

    Perfumedpenguin's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    This was, for a short while, 'my first ever Parfum' - and what a sensuous and sensual joy Chamade is! Bliss in a bottle...

    The story of Chamade is well known, but worth re-visiting (albeit briefly). The drumbeat of surrender, the heart pierced, the world, the person, the heart all, literally, turned upside down - (and all captured in a brilliantly designed bottle, a miniature work of art in it's own right). Bottle and juice in perfect union. Such 'scent-ual' symbolism!

    It's a rare rare thing - but when impossible things happen you need a perfume to capture the moment, something special, a touch of Guerlain genius to distil such a wondrous feeling into a fragrance that encapsulates the quintessence of 'a love like no other'...

    Chamade is a complex, captivating floral - evanescent, enchanting, eternal. It is a perfume of indescribable beauty. For some things in this world, and Chamade is surely one, just are masterpieces - reveries that repay re-visiting, re-reading, re-feeling. Such joy!!

    The words may, and do, come a-tumbling-out, but sometimes in life saying nothing says everything... Silence is eloquence... My Parfum was a gift - for the one woman in this world who has ever made me speechless... The-One who will always share the scent of my soul... "So eloquent... So charming... So adorable"... Chamade - a perfume that make souls glow... A masterpiece.

    13 May, 2014 (Last Edited: 23 May, 2014)

    rogalal's avatar

    United States United States

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    Another of the "important" Guerlains that I'm going to have to pass on. The current EDT starts off with a blast of sweet fake-smelling lemon mixed with Guerlain's signature sweet pea note. They are quickly joined by those aldehydes that smell like that stinky 80's pump hairspray, as well as a plasticky, fake rose note that combines with dark waxy honey in a weird attempt to smell "limpid" but mostly smells "experimental". There's also some confusing tarragon and cassis in there, and the whole thing just smells weird, like synthetic plastic versions of a whole bunch of things that should smell beautiful.

    Figuring that I must be missing something, I tried the extrait for comparison. It's definitely a lot better. By amplifying the base, Chamade switched from a synthetic plastic-fueled nightmare into a grand aldehydic floral. I still didn't care for the tarragon and the overly-waxy rose, but it was definitely enough to turn this review from a thumbs down to a neutral.

    30th April, 2014

    deadidol's avatar



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    This one starts off with a massive wall-of-sound green note that sits somewhere between powdery and bitter. It’s a great opening that’s chased by a wild bouquet of florals and aldehydes, but surprisingly the whole scent doesn’t lean too floral, maintaining instead a slightly spiced oriental parity. It’s super vintage smelling and a bit schmaltzy, but buoyant and kind of fun all the same. However, after all the interesting opening stuff has burned off, what’s left is a powder bomb over a snoozy base. While they last, the opening notes are crystalline and expressive—real attention getters—but the remainder just seems to be going through motions.

    03 April, 2014

    rbaker's avatar



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    This review is for the vintage perfume:
    The opening is simple but brilliant: hyacinth, one of the best, together with a very special jasmine, forms a wonderfully rich and intense initial impression. Absolutely gorgeous. In the dry down galbanum and ylang-ylang add to the floral character, enhanced by a fruity undertone. Gradually a vanilla of unsurpassed quality gradually grows in prominence, peaking in the early base where a soft woodsy note is added that has whiffs of hazel and of sandal passing by. At times I get a soft amber aroma. Eventually, the vanilla, never too sweet, is gradually fading out, accompanied by a soft and gentle powdery note in the background. The ingredients are of astounding quality, beautifully smoothly blended without losing structure, and of velvety richness and great purity, especially in the top notes. Good silage and projection with ten hours of longevity. One of the house's masterpieces.

    24 March, 2014

    's avatar



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    Chamade

    I can, with no hesitation, name Chamade as one of the greatest perfumes ever made. The basic idea seems simple enough, a green aldehydic floral among many. But it's how Chamade presents this theme that makes it so great, so instantly recognizable. On a horizontal axis, the perfume operates on the standard trope of cool to warm, from icy green to golden sunset, in the effortless grace that can only be described as French. The quality of every chord in this range is astounding, each steeped in the richness, abstraction, and homophonic mastery that is the hallmark of Jacques Guerlain's style. The greatness doesn't stop here. Chamade is special also in in that is has that rarest quality: surprise. Every time I put the stuff on, I am shocked by the moment when it sheds it hardened mein for an intense chord of rose, amber, and coffee-like wood that can only have been the product of divine intervention. And the drydown! Has there ever been a finale at once so comforting and interesting? Many perfumes are beautiful; many are interesting. But very few, Chamade included, can be considered both. Monumental.

    24 July, 2013

    iivanita's avatar

    Croatia Croatia

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    This is one bright, spring time cent, but my overall impression is neutral because my dislike towards aldehydes, so it opens up like hair spray, a bit like synthetic, its moderate dose of aldehydes that soon mellows into some complex floral, soft, a touch powdery sweet smell,i admire the complexity , and refinement of this, but something there doesn't work for me, because gives off some artificial kind of smell

    Florals are mix of watery lilac and honeied yilang. I appreciate this very much but neutral goes on my taste. I love the development of the scent it improves with time, and my image is cloud of something feminine, that can not be defined, like white veil

    10th March, 2013

    tinkerbell's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Another of my Guerlain Perfumes that I have been wearing since the Seventies
    on and off.
    To me there is something mesmerising about the aroma that I can't put my finger on.
    I have Vintage Eau de Parfum ( my local pharmacy was stopping selling perfumes a good few years ago and saved a number of classics for me ).

    On my skin this perfume settles into a warm classic vanilla scent with a twist.

    I will leave the descriptions to others on site better than myself, as it has all been said before.

    23 December, 2012

    gimmegreen's avatar

    Netherlands Netherlands

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    A perfect, imaginary spring meadow – well, one rarely finds hyacinths in meadows and there is a dryness throughout that doesn’t fit either. But the feeling of space, light fresh floral airs drifting through, a green shade, that’s all there. Along with a smooth, powdery vanillic Guerlain base right from the start. The hyacinth is beautifully realized – soft and will-o-wispy, rather than blaring and headachy. There is a butteriness suggestive of the narcissus family. Everything is serenely in place.
    Major problem with the EDT is that you are left with the base within about two hours – it’s beautifully done, but not that distinctive. Now to try and score some EDP…

    23 July, 2012

    buren's avatar



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    I used to visit Michele et File in San Francisco...

    But sadly at that time I still smoked cigarettes & I needed a perfume that could accommodate wine & cigarettes. Chamade had a depth that my brain/nose still remembers, a sort of space between a touch of flowers and a firm smoky undertone where my own scents could fit in.

    I think even after all these years & no wine & no cigarettes, I would love to wear Chamade. I suspect I like the mid-notes described by some of the reviewers, the black current bud & galbanum. I don't recall much ylang-ylang type scent, really...obviously I liked woody notes (woodsmoke)..

    06 June, 2012

    magali's avatar

    Ireland Ireland

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    At this stage, I'd better come up with the truth!. Even though, I live in Ireland, I'm actually French and I have a sad compulsive disorder when it comes to buying Guerlain perfumes! I basically have to have them all- this can be tricky here in Ireland- but not anymore thanks to the Internet...It all started back in the 80's in Paris. My mum used to own two big bottles of Chamade and Shalimar. I'd say she only used them twice a year- at christmas and on her wedding anniversary. This suited me just fine: a spritz here and a spritz there and I must have been the most expensive scented teenager in town.
    Bref, as we say, this must have been the start of it all. I am unashamedly biaised when it comes to Guerlain- must be the early neurone connections made at the time.
    I have to admit that this perfume makes me sneeze when I spray it on: this is a small price to pay to smell both gorgeous and exceptional.

    05 June, 2011

    Laura_2009's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    I was fifteen and it was almost Christmas ... I was shopping in a busy department store, when suddenly I smelled the MOST BEAUTIFUL FRAGRANCE IN THE WORLD. I had to find out what it was and where it came from. In spite of the crowd, I made my way to the perfume section and I discovered Chamade de Guerlain. This happened ten years ago and Chamade is still the angel scent that follows me everywhere I go and that warms up my heart when I feel a little sad. (Toronto, Canada)

    17 December, 2010

    jtd's avatar

    United States United States

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    Chamade is exceptionally thoughtfully composed.

    Chamade uses scent to illustrate texture and time. The timeframe suggests lushness and leisure. As for texture, think of juiciness, waxiness, powderiness all braided together. It’s alternately each of these and then all simultaneously. The textures give a sense of gravity and dimension. There is a dense core with other bits hovering around it like a layered atmosphere.

    11th December, 2010 (Last Edited: 03 May, 2012)

    Weimar27's avatar

    United States United States

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    The opening starts harshly with green notes Hyacinth and Aldehyde as it dries down it gets a little more softer and warmer consisting of amber dry sandalwood
    and the oils of the tolu Balsam and i can
    detect nuances of civet in little patches
    Lilac with it's sharpness and spiciness
    with it's delicate powdery rose holds
    it own in a faintest of ways i'm going to be blunt here so.

    do you think you'll Surrender to the
    Magic of Chamade Unfortunily No.
    Do you love the bottle Yes.
    do you hate this fragrance no but it's not worth to purchase again.

    09 October, 2010

    Jitterbug Perfume Lover's avatar

    United States United States

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    I agree with Mimi Gardenia who said, "Sweet Holy Mother ! If there is a smell of heaven ,angels ,clouds and The Light of God - this is it."
    It is the smell of sacred forests as well. It's what a green fairy in the sacred forest would wear. It's divine.

    23 August, 2010

    MaatMama's avatar

    United States United States

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    Total agreement with mysticknot...this is what Heaven must smell like.

    Years ago, I had a tiny EDT sample of this...it had the top that looked like a little silver acorn. My mother only wore Estee, then White Linen, so I was lucky enough to get her rejects...and there were lots of them! This one, though captivated me then and captivates me still. The green, fresh opening leading into the most subtly sexy drydown; reminiscent of a pollen-y full-blown bouquet and just a whiff of the Guerlinade vanillic funk...oh my. In it, I'm Catherine Deneuve, or Julie Christie. Classy and hella sexy. Chamade just might be the fragrance I'd take to a desert island with me.

    05 May, 2010

    Noelle Pardieu's avatar

    France France

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    Reading the reviews of Chamade published on Base Notes, I sometimes wondered if I was the same scent that I own. I have a bottle of "Eau de Parfum" and its main feature is to be my very warmest winter scent - my other winter favourite being Coco. No trace of lightness or green, Chamade to me is hot, orangey (the color, not the fruit) sunny, heavy but very cosy, elegant and above all, extrovert!
    All right, I may not have the type to wear this kind of perfume, being very light of skin petite... and not very extovert. I spray it sparsely on my wrists, It is quite enough for me.

    I agree with Taliaseki who finds the entry too harsh - but I do smell Hyacinth, strongly so, and it is the part I dislike about Chamade. Afterwards (a short time, thanks god) it gets all creamy and powdery ,like a luxury coat. Then I can go out even if it freezes hard!

    28 April, 2010

    Mimi Gardenia's avatar

    United States United States

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    Sweet Holy Mother ! If there is a smell of heaven ,angels ,clouds and The Light of God - this is it.
    The opening is a burst of sweet goodness- innocence, like a smile,tinged with some green - it's strong ,memorable. The opening hit 'the good part' in me straight away . it becomes more powdery as it progresses, some what sweet floral ,clean ,still half green. Vanilla is more apparent in the drydown . Few perfumes have this effect on me . I tell you Jean Paul Guerlain was inspired by an angel .Thanks to Haunani who gifted me a sample. My own angel here ! :)

    17 April, 2010

    granola357's avatar

    United States United States

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    (Parfum): The first few minutes feature an intense green topnote, but within ten minutes a narcissus-based, spicy floral heart emerges, with the soft vanilla notes of the Guerlinade chiming in quietly underneath. Others have described this fragrance as "powdery," and while I see what they're getting at, it is not at all the typical baby powder or soapy aldehydic sparkle of other green scents but rather a richer, spicier and almost oily note that grows in strength through the drydown. This is much crisper than I had expected, and though it is a floral oriental it doesn't have a single trace of sweetness, which means that daring guys can probably pull it off.

    This scent differs quite a lot in its formulations, which seem to get spicier as the strength increases. The EdT is the greenest and crispest of the lot. The (now vintage) PdT is significantly more floral, and to my nose has a much more identifiable rose note than the other formulations. (I haven't tried the EdP that has since replaced it). The parfum is definitely the spiciest of the three.

    25 February, 2010 (Last Edited: 17 December, 2010)

    BayKAT's avatar

    United States United States

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    (Pure Parum review, 2008 production)
    I"ve been searching for a 'Green' scent for over six months. I liked the EDT version, and was curious to compare that to the modern pure parfum.
    The PP is more of a skin scent, and retains the heavenly, powdery dry down. I thought the EDT opening was 'too strong', but in PP hte opening is crisp and vibrant.

    The EDT lasts a good 6-8 hours on me, and the PP 10-12.

    This is one of the few scents that I recieved an unsolicited compliment on, and I can imagine why. It's very uplifting, energizing, and clean. Many greens that I try are either too sharp (Chanel 19), too course (Harris Miller's Fleur du Matin), too fleeting (MDCI's En Coeur en Mai) or too forgetable (???)

    But this is Baby Bear's bed. It's just right. Mmm!

    12 February, 2010

    taliaseki's avatar

    Turkey Turkey

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    I really envy the noses who would smell any hyacinth in it. The introduction notes mean much to me and i find hyacinth smell very inspiring. But the first note in Chamade to me is bitter painful galbanum. Thanks god it does not persist long and sweet and alluring blackcurrant vanilla takes place to show me what Chamade has its reputation for. Though not mentioned in notes I get a hint of bergamot or orange sourness at all stages. This is a special scent and would be one of my favorite winter scents with a smoother entry.

    10th February, 2010

    angelica's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    So Chamade was created by Jean-Paul Guerlain, who sounds like one of the biggest romantics of all time. In various interviews, I've come across snippets such as: "a woman should not change her scent too often; her lover should recognize her in the dark." I think that's what this is all about. He wasn't so interested in those top-notes, or even the heart, but that never-ending soft, slightly spicy, balsamic drydown, which also seems to have a good dose of the slightly-scandalous orris butter. And if you're curious what that smells like, google it along with Bryan Ferry.

    02 August, 2009

    JessicaGrace's avatar

    United States United States

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    Lovely and assured, Chamade starts out with a burst of cool florals -- hyacinth and jasmine, and I swear I smell narcissus, too. You often hear this described as a green floral, but to me is smells yellow somehow. A certain iciness in the top notes begins to warm in the heart, with the yling ylang and softly resinous galbanum, but Chamade retains an air of poise, never quite becoming intimate -- perhaps because it lacks any true animal notes. The final balsamic/vanilla dry-down is pure Guerlain, and lovely, but there is a sort of post-dry-down phase on my skin where a faint urinous note lurks around on my skin for a while, outlasting anything else. Lasts 3-4 hours, with modest silage.

    I've heard "chamade" translated as drumbeat, and marketing copy indicates that this perfume is created to symbolize passionate love, but I think that's a bit misleading. "Chamade" means specifically the beat that signals an army to retreat or surrender. The Francoise Sagan novel La Chamade -- made into a movie starring Catherine Deneuve the year this perfume came out -- tells the story of a young woman who chooses life as the mistress of a wealthy man rather than pursuing a love of her own. Rather than give in to passion, she cuts off her own emotions for pragmatic reasons. Probably I'm being suggestible, but this perfume makes sense to me in the context of this story. It smells cool, chic, lovely -- and not quite happy.

    22 July, 2009

    esquirol's avatar



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    The extrait de parfum is heavier than the eau de toilette as the top notes are almost non existent. The green notes are hidden behind a smell of pollen, and the impression is mellow, comfortable but definitely grown-up. It smells womanly, as if you had approached just a little too much.
    And what is gorgeous about the extrait is that it radiates in the depths, in a humble and absolutely self-confident way, as if it knew it smelled exactly right.

    26 January, 2009

    AnnS's avatar

    United States United States

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    Chamade is a beautiful, classic style, green floral. I've recently discovered this one, and happy I have! The edt is thinner than the rich parfum, but it still has an enjoyable feminine quality. Each version is beautiful in its own right. I think the edt presents more aldehydes than the parfum. For me it "works" in the same manner as I enjoy other green, classic style aldehydes, such as Givenchy III, Chanel No. 19, or Annick Goutal Heure Exquise. The parfum has more of a compact structure than the edt and more lasting power in the vanillic-balsamic drydown. Both versions are very good - even though reformulation has apparently diminished the composition. Since I've never smelled the original, I can only wonder about it. I still like the current Chamade very much, and I think as with all Guerlain's that sampling is a must for anyone interested -- the edt is just as enjoyable as the rich parfum (and slightly different). I am also an aldehyde lover, so for me there is no problem with that classic blast - those who are wary of aldehydes would be best to sample this one, and note that they don't stick around very long.

    When I apply the edt, I feel a tiny bit of abandon, but the parfum requires more of a light hand otherwise it would be overwhelming. This fragrance smells of abundant springtime - mostly due to it's green-ness and the rich floral hyacinth and galbanum notes. Although it is very classic and elegant, it can still be worn for day, just as Givenchy III or Chanel No. 19, etc. It has excellent staying power in general, medium to strong sillage, and the scent will remain on clothes well after it is worn. I will also suggest that the right man could wear the parfum version for the prolonged spicy vanilla-balsamic drydown, esp. if he had some time to kill waiting for the top notes to burn off.

    25 January, 2009

    JaimeB's avatar

    United States United States

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    A classic scent from Guerlain with a rich floral palette balanced by green galbanum, spices, and oriental base notes. Looking at the pyramid, one imagines something very rich, perhaps even heavy, but this is blended with a very light hand. The overall impression is ultimately fresh, airy, slightly spicy, and green with a lingering hint of the florals. Good longevity and decent sillage characterize this fragrance. I think most men wouldn't find this impoassible to wear — in the EdT form, at least (on which this review is based).

    29 December, 2008

    tessera's avatar

    United States United States

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    Starts out dreadful, powdery, sharp, like medicated foot powder, but dries down to a creamy, slightly old-fashioned powdery floral. Nice and pretty after that initial awful blast.

    12 October, 2008

    ubuandibeme's avatar

    United States United States

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    First off, I'd like to get it off my chest that I'm not a Guerlain-o-phile, Guerlain-a-holic, or fan of Guerlain frags in general...in fact, most offerings from this house that DO appeal to me are not the popular ones. Whew! Now THAT'S out of the way, let me tell you Chamade is an absolute masterpiece! Yep, the blend of notes here is sheer genius. Chamade's florals are singular, yet immediately form a bouquet, that evolves sweetly, with fluid motion. 'Balsamic notes' in the base just send me over the top for this juice! I am sampling the EDT version and find it possesses quite ample sillage and good longevity. After this, I may become a Guerlain lover after all!

    16 September, 2008

    oldnose's avatar

    United States United States

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    I haven't owned Chamade for about 35 years, but I still miss it. On me (I used the EDT), it pretty much stayed the same throughout the day, a very sparkly, peppery floral. The sparkliness and pepperiness were more predominant. I did have some friends who were surprised it was Chamade I was wearing, so apparently it's one of those that reacts quite differently to one's body chemistry.

    It's one of the few scents I have ever worn that had strange men ask me what it was - including one guy who owned a ritzy little art shop in New Orleans, and decided he wanted to sell it as the only scent he would carry! Someday, I will splurge again; in the meantime, I have to settle for Chamade's working-class cousin Vanderbilt (which to me is Chamade with a few drops of Organza - could be worse!).

    29 August, 2008

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